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Messages - jax

Americans own guns; and, yes, in large part that is to prevent the government from doing stupid shit.

I assume you don't believe this, but make an argument for the sound of it, but anyway. The US government does stupid shit all the time, it isn't Americans owning guns that stop them, if they at all are stopped, but people discovering what they are doing, and institutions that disallow them from continue and/or punish them for what they have done.
Maybe they can take your opinion away next? It seems to be causing you distress. Your government treats you like children by taking everything away from you. Your police get stabbed - or have to surrender streets to hooligans because they can't even defend themselves and you think they can protect you? Bombs seem to go off there more than we have shootings. And your media force feeds you the idea that disarming your populace somehow makes you safe. What kind of child mind does it take to believe you need someone to hold your hand and keep you safe?

Your system isn't the only way to proceed. Degrading other systems to justify your own shortcomings seems to be your only weapon left. Legislation to control guns within reason can be found. Our system does not allow disarming the populace without substantial changes to the Constitution. That you surrender to your own government so easily makes you no better off.

This post is more interesting than all Smiley's posts combined. There is an insidious claim that clearly had made their way into the hearts and minds of many American minds, that the US goals of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" are in conflict with the Canadian "peace, welfare, and good government". By now many by consequence seem willing to believe that peace is bad, welfare is bad, and good government is bad.

If you have "peace, welfare, and good government" you will almost automatically get "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", but not necessarily the other way around. You don't have to look back in history, you can look to countries around you, how countries have turned from bad to good, or from OK to horrible.

Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, these countries are all armed to the teeth. Has that led to better government? Emphatically no. More life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? Again no.

The best protection against a bad government is a good government. So how do we get a good government? Checks and balances is good.  Transparency and accountability is critical. Representative politicians is useful. As are watchdogs with teeth. Having an informed, critical public and good stable and adaptive institutions. A government staffed with bright, skilled bureaucrats.

Armed farmers and wingnuts won't stop people in power from abusing it, the aforementioned mechanisms can. If the armed militia wannabees become too much of a nuisance, throw them a trinket. Look, a shiny new wall! A wall for everyone! You can get a wall! And you can get a wall! And you! And you!

If they can't be bothered to distract, they can repress (which won't happen Waco-style, and hasn't happened Waco-style). And of course, if all else fails, bomb/drone your way out of the problems. Worked a treat for Bashar Al-Assad. Half the Syrians are now refugees, and he's still in power, more secure than for a long time. The same of course goes for the Hashtag Resistance. Nuke New York City and Silicon Valley, give them something else to tweet about.

By saying and believing government is by nature bad, you won't care when government turns bad and start plundering and pillaging. By saying and believing regulation is bad, you ensure that all the regulations will be bad, as will their absence of course. You are inviting a kleptocracy, and rule by the inept. By believing weapons protect against government abuse, you keep buying more weapons while the government keeps abusing more.  You are being had. Owned.
I probably mentioned this the last time one of their video clips was posted, but just so you know where they're coming from: the VPRO is a red[1] public broadcaster.
Red cat, blue cat, catch mice is good cat.

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hēi māo bái māo zhuāzhù hàozi jiùshì hǎo māo
 黑  猫  白  猫   抓住    耗子   就是   好  猫

Not Republican. The other red.
The predominant diplomatic principle is fait accompli.

Of course it's up to Spain to decide whether Catalonia should be independent or not. By the look of it the ruling PP coalition is of the opinion that Catalonia should be independent, at least they act that way. Bit like the Scots, the Catalans seem lukewarm about independence, so it is up to the Madrid government to stoke up the fires. Rajoy too shall pass, and overall the Catalans seem comfortable.

The EU wasn't much involved in Yugoslavia, nor in Czechoslovakia, until it reached the fait accompli stage. Some EU members were more proactive, but basically it was a post-communist power struggle unlikely to be resolved in any other way. 

Many, Americans in particular, have a romantic view of the rebel. It's better for the self-image to look at their founding fathers as rebels rather than as traitors. Then again, most coutries are founded on treason, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia inclusive, at the cost of millions of lives in WWI. Had they lost, they would have died as traitors. They didn't, so fait accompli.
The media has handled this with the same restraint as the shooter. Blasting everything hoping they hit something. Anyone that thinks they know what would of stopped this, at this point, is being foolish.

Must be the advantage that comes with distance. The media information I got was tentative and slightly time-delayed, but basically correct. When there was a truck attack here in Stockholm the reporting was partially in shambles. The problem comes with real-time reporting, particularly on Twitter. You may be a trained and/or experienced journalist, but the incentives work against that. You get unverified, but potentially life-saving information, do you pass it on? You are first with a scoop, do you check it and potentially lose it to someone else, or tweet it immediately even though it may be wrong in part or totality? Then there are the trolls, the hoaxers, and the agenda pushers that are by now old hands at getting their narrative out, in addition to those who have heard something and want to pass that on.

Then there are the practical advice, how to get home when the transport network shut down, where to stay. Back in 2011 when Breivik bombed the government headquarter and started shooting teens, the message spread on Twitter/Facebook not to text anyone at Utøya as there was a shooter on the loose, and they might not have the phones on silent, and that was before the media mentioned Utøya. There was not that much wilful disinformation, this was back when Infowars was for crazy people and left-wing loonies, and not the Presidential Office of Information.

It is possible to have responsible and responsive real-time journalism, but that takes some doing, and in the meanwhile the noise to signal ration will just increase.

You may instead think about the talk about gun control. Of course gun control works, but it doesn't work automatically, and it doesn't work for all time and everything. These are multi-factor dynamic systems. Talk about gun control is just talk. To make an effect you need bipartisan cooperation and action, so back to talk, and the rather cynical article I linked to above.

People elsewhere are learning from past behaviour. When there is a new form of hack attack both security experts and wannabe hackers take note. Last year, when a crazy truck hijacker killed unusually many people in Nice, that got the attention of city planners and jihadists alike. Followed up with attacks in Berlin and Stockholm that has led to work on truck control. Two of the largest truck companies in the world are Swedish (Scania here 20 miles from Stockholm, and Volvo outside Gothenburg), MAN among others is German. They are figuring what will work to make drivers safer as well as citizens.

You don't see that in the US. Instead of working on how to make guns less unsafe and not fall in the wrong hands, you got the NRA.
The NRA's website, Twitter feed and Facebook page -- all of which are typically updated frequently throughout the day --went dark on Monday, posting no new content, and the group did not respond to several calls and emails seeking comment.

That's pretty much according to script, How America Will Deal With The Las Vegas Gun Massacre in 10 Easy Steps

NRA will stay off-line for about a week until attention goes elsewhere.
Good to hear from you again, even though the circumstances could be better. Violence is universal, but not in the form of a retired man shooting half thousand people.
Greece may not be the issue. It will be a measure of relative power if any reform will be for the EU as a whole or for the Eurozone. France would prefer the latter, but not Germany. The countries in the EU that are not in the Eurozone are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Sweden, Four of these eight are neighbours of Germany. None of these eight are neighbours of France.

Of the original twelve eleven EU members, only Denmark is not in the Eurozone. Founding members are bold (only West Germany was among those six). Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom. In addition Austria, (Greek) Cyprus, Malta, the three Baltic countries, Slovakia and Slovenia are in the Eurozone.
Mapping Where Europe's Population Is Moving, Aging, and Finding Work

London is currently the youngest capital region in the EU. With Brexit, that will change to Copenhagen.

DnD Central / Re: Maps-Maps-Maps! ?
They could get more hardcore, forcing a quote to be an actual embedding. Most smoothly with version control.

If I had:
Scripts often have trouble handling quoted text correctly (the above quote should have been rolled back as well).
and you wanted a trimmed version:
trouble handling quoted text

That would be a substring of the full quote. If I later edited the quoted text you'd still have "trouble handling quoted text", but as a quote from an earlier version of the quote.
Scripts often have trouble handling quoted text correctly (the above quote should have been rolled back as well).
Norway's sovereign wealth fund passed a milestone.

The World's Biggest Wealth Fund Hits $1 Trillion

Though not really because it has done so well lately, rather that the US dollar is worth less.
It is nice, and rjhowie more intelligible, Maybe I'd keep calling Google "ghhhhhhhhhgle" the other days as well.
DnD Central / Re: Maps-Maps-Maps! ?
This place here neaby is still considered an island, though the road that leads to there runs on an embankment.

Cool. Reminds me of China around Macao. You are driving in a high-density urban environment, with 30+ floor buildings on both sides, only that according to Google Maps you're in the middle of the ocean.
Lucky Sweden. :P

...oy! The "rising oceans" trope continues to swamp both memory and science!
Yes. It's a very slow process, a few mm rise per year (4mm around here). It's not like e.g. the Aral Sea where the water is disappearing in front of your nose (and ports). However a few islands named as islands during/before the Viking age are peninsulas now.

During the ice age Northern Europe was weighed down with ice, a few kilometers high. That depressed this part of Europe, and also led to lower sea levels as much of the surface water was bound as ice. When the ice disappeared Scandinavia (and Canada in the New World) started to rebound, while on the other side of European plate Italy was sinking. This process isn't over yet.

After most of the ice melted, but before Scandinavia rebounded, much of Sweden and Finland was submerged (including where I am). The Baltic Sea went through Sweden. 

The Stockholm area. Dark blue is the water level today, medium blue today's lakes, light blue the water level 5000 years ago, yellow the islands (today hills). There was no Södertälje channel, but a Södertälje archipelago. 

Due to climate change the sea is likely to rise faster than the land (except for some areas in Northern Scandinavia). The expected water rise in a century is about a meter ± 25 cm, while the land is expected to continue rising about 40 cm. The lake system is about 70 cm above sea level, so without the land rise this would spell trouble, turning the lake ecosystem (and source of drinking water) brackish. Still could.

There is a lock system in place, it could be enhanced. Or we could think bigger and go Full Netherland. 

Sweco, an architecture/engineering company, has proposed to construct artificial islands in the Øresund sound between Copenhagen and Malmö, Öresund city:

Others a flood barrier for Copenhagen

Either way the next step could be to wall in the whole Baltic Sea behind a barrier.  That would be memorable. 
What's a "real" island can be a tricky question. Intuitively it is a landmass that can't be walked to from another landmass at low tide without getting your toes wet, smaller than a continent, bigger than a skerry. In practice it can be a little more tricky.

To take a local example. Below is a map over Södertörn, which has only been classified as an island since 2014. Before that it was a peninsula.

The light blue on the map is the (brackish saltwater) Baltic Sea. Dark blue is (sweetwater) Mälaren lake and adjoining lakes. Red is urban areas. The red spot to the left with dark blue on top, light blue on bottom is my city of Södertälje. The two biggest red spots on top of the map are Stockholm. Green is non-urban areas. 

Södertörn is the big landmass between Södertälje and Stockholm. The bridges and tunnels don't count, but there are sluices at the lake/sea boundaries, so the water surrounding Södertörn is not level (the lake is about 70 cm higher). More importantly there is a 3 km canal, not a channel, through Södertälje. Adding to the story, there actually was a natural channel through Södertälje until about 1300 years ago, but Sweden, like the rest of Scandinavian peninsula, is rising, and the channel was drying out. 

Norway's general election: all you need to know

How does the system work?
The country of 5.2 million people uses a modified proportional representation system in which 150 MPs in the 169-seat storting are directly elected in Norway's 19 constituencies.
The remaining 19 so-called "levelling" seats are then distributed proportionately to parties that clear a 4% vote threshold so their final seat tally in the parliament fairly reflects their share of the national vote.
DnD Central / Re: Today's Bad News
He was a significant SF writer, though frankly not one I enjoyed (neither his collaborator Niven). I may or may have not met him, I am fuzzy about that. I think not, and it would anyway just have been in the passing.

In the real world it was not his fiction, but his opinons that made him known. A quite American outlook, and generational. He belonged to the space age, and by now not only is that age gone, but also most of its people.

My impression from nearly maybe having met, a few degrees of separation, and his non-fiction (which I read far more of), is that he was a decent human being.